If a summer storm damages your home, the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau warns you to stay away from storm chasers. Storm chasers are disreputable contractors who are looking to take advantage of your situation to make a quick buck. Keep reading to learn more about them and what you should really do to recover from a storm.
What Do Storm Chasers Do?
Storm chasers swarm areas where many homes were damaged by a large storm. They advertise by going door to door or putting up fliers. They will usually tell you whatever it takes to make a sale.
The problem is they rarely do a good job. With no ties to the area, they have no reason to build their reputation. They may do an incomplete job or use poor workmanship. In the worst cases, they may just take your money and not do the promised work.
What Happens if You Use a Storm Chaser?
If you use a storm chaser, you’ll usually need to have the repair redone by a professional. If you try to bring a lawsuit, you may not be able to track the storm chaser down, and the police won’t be able to do much even in cases of outright fraud. At the end of the day, you’ll be out more time and money than if you have chosen a reputable contractor.
Don’t You Have to Take the Lowest Estimate?
Your insurance company rarely requires you to take the lowest estimate unless it’s from a contractor approved by the insurance company. Insurance companies know low ball work is rarely good work, and contractors who do a thorough job will charge more. Also, poor work may increase your risk of damage in a future storm and lead to the insurance company having to pay an avoidable claim.
What’s the Right Way to Start Your Recovery?
Always talk to your insurance agent before you do anything. Their job is to help guide you through the entire claims process.
Especially following a large storm, insurance companies will usually have people in the area to assess the damage and take claims in-person. If not, your insurance agent will let you know where to send photos and videos.
Be sure to read your written policy as well. This will include the deadline for making your formal claim. Keep in mind that not submitting all the required documentation in time could result in you not being able to make a claim.
Have Reputable Contractors Inspect Your Home
Get multiple estimates from reputable contractors. They should have good reviews either in your local area or the area they’re traveling from. They should also be licensed, bonded, and insured with coverage in your local area. For large storms, Wisconsin may recognize out-of-state contractors temporarily, but be sure to verify this.
The estimates you receive will likely vary in more than price. The contractors may differ in what work they’re recommending and whether they plan to repair the damage or do a complete replacement. Ask questions to understand what they’re recommending and why.
If you need help selecting a contractor, understanding what your insurance covers, or with any other part of the process, talk to Wolfgram Insurance.